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March 15, 2019


Storm Relief Part of Amended 2019 State Budget Signed by Gov. Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp this week signed an amended state budget for fiscal year 2019 that includes an additional $20 million in funding for disaster relief to southwest Georgia related to Hurricane Michael. The money will be distributed as part of the Safety 21 Loan Program administered by the Georgia Development Authority (GDA). Approved applicants quickly accessed the original $55 million in funding when the program was created by the Legislature in November, and applications are already on file and provisionally approved for the additional funding. We understand commitments for the additional loans should go out next week and the closings will be set shortly thereafter. "This bridge loan program has been crucial to help hundreds of Georgia producers at a time when they most needed it. Former Gov. Deal, Gov. Kemp, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and legislative leaders really stepped up. Also, Thomas Carter and his colleagues at the GDA have worked tirelessly to get the loan applications approved and the money in the hands of producers so efficiently. Our thanks go out to all for their quick action," said GBA Chairman John Hall, president and CEO of American Pride Bank in Macon.

Georgia Supreme Court Issues Partial Clarification on Loudermilk Case

The Supreme Court of Georgia issued its latest opinion this week in the continuing litigation over whether former directors and officers of Buckhead Community Bank can be held liable for financial losses from commercial real estate loans. Here’s the ruling. Bill Custer of GBA Associate Member Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner provided the an initial analysis of the ruling, which answered some questions but left some other questions open for further court interpretation. More details here.

Eight Days Remain in State Legislative Session

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week completing day 32 of their 40-day session. Both the House and Senate committees were busy considering bills passed by the other body as it’s theoretically too late for a bill to be passed in the body of origin if introduced this late in the session. Hearings were held on two of GBA’s three priority bills, and a committee meeting is expected next week on a bill related to P.A.C.E. lending that’s concerning many of our members. Be watching for our Legislative Update with more details about all the legislation important to the industry. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Promoting Careers in Banking
New Talent Shines in BankWork$ Program

A talented group of nine people graduated this week from a unique training program for potential bank employees in Atlanta. BankWork$ is a national program to train and match new talent with banks that are prospective employers. The Urban League of Greater Atlanta runs the program in Georgia, and this week’s graduates were the fourth class to complete the program. In total, 60 people have completed the course over the past year. GBA’s David Oliver addressed the graduates of the spring program to encourage them in pursuit of a career in banking. He shared with them the importance of the industry, the impact each banker has personally on people and communities, and the world of opportunity available to them in the industry. GBA members Citizens Trust Bank, SunTrust Bank, Regions Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Unity National Bank, Fidelity Bank, Fifth Third Bank and BB&T, as well as Woodforest Bank, are local partners participating in the program. Seven of the nine graduates in this spring’s program already have job offers at participating banks. For information about BankWork$, contact the Urban League’s Johnette Brown, 404.659.6584.
GBA’s David Oliver with the BankWork$ graduates, participating bank representatives and Urban League of Greater Atlanta staff.

New Overtime Rule Proposed

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued its anticipated proposed update of critical "overtime" rules last updated in 2016 during the Obama Administration. The new proposed level at which an employee could be exempted from federal overtime and minimum wage requirements at $679 per week, or $35,308 per year. This is a significant reduction from the Obama-era rule. The DOL also proposed that the salary level be updated every four years through notice-and-comment rulemaking. "The proposed salary level of $679 per week ($35,308 annually) is absolutely consistent with information telegraphed by the Department of Labor over the past two years. For example, during Secretary of Labor Acosta’s confirmation hearing back in 2017, he was asked about this very issue. At that time, he indicated that in his view, the salary level should be increased and it should be increased based upon the same methodology used by the agency in 2004. That is exactly what has taken place here," says Steve Greene of GBA Strategic Partner Employment Law Compliance. Read a more detailed preliminary analysis from ELC here. Comments are due within 60 days of publication in the federal register. With questions, contact Greene at 866.801.6302.

Quick Summary of Community Bank Survey

Back in February we reported on what Georgia bankers had to say about the state of community banking as part of the annual CSBS survey of community banks. CSBS has put together a short video summary of the national results that’s worth a look if you have four minutes to spare. This survey represents valuable insight on the views and concerns of community bankers today. In 2018, 521 bankers in 37 states responded.

Help Shape Finance Courses for Georgia Middle Schools

Bankers and parents have the opportunity to provide feedback on proposed business and finance courses being developed for Georgia’s public middle schools. The Georgia Department of Education has made a public survey site available through March 23, and we encourage bankers to take a look and share any feedback. The more real-world input provided, the better equipped our teachers will be to help prepare students to be bankers and smart stewards of their own finances. GBA has been involved on the business-group advisory committee working on the curriculum. There are also surveys for other courses, as well. Access the surveys here.

Share Your Talents and Expertise as a GBA Volunteer

One way you can give back to your industry is to serve as a GBA committee or board volunteer. In return, you get stronger peer connections with bankers from around the state, a direct voice for you and your bank in education and policy discussions for the industry and skill and knowledge from peer sharing sessions throughout the year. Each year, more than 300 people working in the banking industry volunteer for our boards, committees and other GBA service activities. The period for nominations and volunteers runs through March 29. Contact GBA’s Shan Haugabrook with questions at 404.420.2020.

GBA Member Profile
Being Part of the Solution with Louvera Walden

Louvera Walden began her career in banking as a part-time money room teller in the ‘80s. She credits this ground-floor opportunity with exposing her to the operational risks of community banking and propelling her work in bank compliance. From working hard toward a full-time compliance officer position, to surviving and finding new opportunities after acquisitions, Walden has seen it all. A member of the GBA Compliance School Board of Directors and GBA Compliance Committee, Walden, now a senior consultant for Capco RISC Consulting in Atlanta, relies on her experiences in the banking industry in her role providing help to other compliance officers and bankers. "I understand the challenges of our clients, which allows me to offer effective, efficient, and practical recommendations. I look forward to the continued changes in the community banking industry as we navigate digitalization," Walden says in this week's GBA Member Profile.

Advanced Compliance School Faculty Highlight: Patti Blenden

We have an all-star faculty at this year's GBA Advanced Compliance School. It’s a treat that we can offer the opportunity for students to learn from experts such as Patti Blenden, president and owner of Financial Solutions, during the school. She recently received the 2018 American Bankers Association’s Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes leadership, initiative and accomplishment in banking regulatory compliance management. Resumes for the other instructors are equally as impressive. This year’s school is May 5-10 in Athens. Details and registration information here. With questions, please contact GBA’s Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034, or Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035.

The Tradition Continues
50-Year Bankers to be Recognized at Annual Meeting

GBA is proud to recognize Georgia bankers who have devoted 50 years or more of service to the industry every year at our Annual Meeting and throughout the year with personal visits when possible. Help us add to the growing list we’re already compiling for recognition this year’s 2019 Annual Meeting. If you know or are someone who is hitting the milestone this year, please let us know so we can celebrate! Please send an email to GBA’s Kathy Friestad with the banker's name, current title, years of service, and short work history, nominating banker name and contact details and a photo. We'd also like to know about any planned events at the bank recognizing the banker. Submissions must be received by Friday, May 17, for this year’s Annual Meeting. Please contact Friestad at 404.420.2024 with questions.

Brownfields for Bankers Event Coming up March 25 in Savannah

Lenders and other banking professionals are invited to attend an educational session about the state’s brownfield law at a meeting in Savannah March 25. The program will cover the opportunities of investing in brownfields, dispel myths on such redevelopments, and provide an opportunity for discussion on how the program works. The meeting is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The host of the meeting is the Georgia Brownfield Association. While there’s no affiliation with the Georgia Bankers Association, we appreciate the effort to inform and educate members on the opportunities. The organizers would welcome a lender with significant experience in brownfield development loans to be part of the program; contact Jennifer Jezyk if interested, 404.483.8150. Get all the details and register here.

GBA Bank Security Conference – Still Time to Register!

Be sure your bank’s security officer is among the growing roster of members attending GBA’s Bank Security Conference coming up April 11-12 at The King and Prince Hotel on St. Simons. Click here to see a detailed agenda and to register online. The GBA room block at the King and Prince is now full but don’t let that stop you from coming. Spots in our block may open up as we get closer to the event, and we’ve got an alternative hotel we recommend. Contact the King and Prince at 800.342.0212 to double-check availability or to be waitlisted. The hotel-recommended as our alternative is the nearby Home 2 Suites by Hilton. Questions? Contact Alison Moreau at 404.420.2034.

Rural Development and Lending Conference
Crop Insurance Update Part of Big Agenda

We hope you will plan to attend and join other agribusiness lenders from around the state at our Rural Development and Lending Conference May 16-17. Plenn Hunnicutt will deliver a crop insurance update as one of our outstanding sessions. Hunnicutt is with South Georgia Crop Insurance. He will discuss the benefits of crop insurance as a risk management tool and will review the various resources available to help the insured produce the highest protective revenue. Click here to get all the details and to register. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions at 404.420.2034.

Upcoming April Seminars - Lots of Loan-Related Learning

Click the links above to learn more. Registration is only $250 per person until the week before the seminar. These seminars will be held in Macon. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.
Master's Degree in Compliance Available from FSU
Georgia bank compliance pros looking for advanced education are eligible for a program we support from the Florida State University College of Law. The school offers an online Juris Master degree in Financial Regulation and Compliance. The JM program provides a unique opportunity to obtain a graduate degree from a highly acclaimed institution with a particular focus on bank compliance issues such as BSA/AML, consumer protection laws and more. The JM in Financial Regulation and Compliance is an online, 30-credit-hour master’s in law that can be completed on a part-time basis. For a full description of the program, please click here. The FSU College of Law is currently accepting applications for the Summer 2019 semester (which begins on May 6) and the application deadline is April 15. For Admissions Procedures and to access the free application, please click here. Scholarship funds are available. If you have questions or would like to speak to an advisor at the FSU College of Law, please contact Laura Sellati, Juris Master Program Director, 850.644.6022.

Streamline Vehicle Title & Lien Release Management with DDI Technology

The GBA has endorsed DDI Technology for more than 10 years because its Premier eTiltleLien® solution enables your bank’s loan operations team to improve reporting and manage exceptions within a simple, user-friendly application. Committed to excellence, DDI continues to focus on improving their products, education and consulting services in all areas of vehicle registration. DDI fosters partnerships with progressive and innovative businesses including federal, state and local governments by supplying them with the technologies to enable dealer and finance partners to provide the best service to their customers while saving time and money. Click here to read about the four biggest benefits to working with DDI. For more details about DDI Technology or to join the more than 4,000 customers they have today, please contact Director of Sales Todd Phillips, 803.808.4937.

GBA Strategic Partner FMS Helps Banks with Marketing, Branding, Social Media and More

Digital marketing channels such as email, social media, blogs, online display ads, search engine optimization, and search engine and mobile marketing are important for winning new business from today's bank customers. GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, or simply FMS, is a group of strategists and creative thinkers who serve banks, and only banks. The bank brands and other projects that endeavor to create are unique, crafted with care, personal devotion and obvious passion. Creativity is critically important to them, but their work also has to be strategic or it’s just marketing fluff. FMS knows that a solid brand campaign will accomplish goals, impact the bottom line, affect positive change and be memorable recognizable no matter where your customers are. The GBA has been proud to endorse FMS as a GBA Strategic Partner since 2007. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073. Want to see what FMS has been up to on social media lately? Click below.

Why You Should Attend the 2019 Women in Banking Conference

GBA’s Women in Banking Committee is putting together an outstanding program for this year’s Women in Banking Conference, Nov. 17-19 at Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands in Buford, GA. Cristi Donahue, SVP, director of Retail Banking for Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville, is a new member of the Committee, and sums up her conference experience this way: "The GBA Women in Banking Conference is a great opportunity to network with many remarkable women in the banking industry. I have learned so much from the amazing speakers and that has helped me grow both personally and professionally. It has also given me the opportunity to build a vast network of peers who have become dear colleagues and friends. Attending this conference is a highlight of my year and reenergizes me to give back to an industry that has provided tremendous value to my bank, my team, my family, and me personally. It is such an honor to serve on the Women in Banking Committee this year!" We encourage women bankers in all areas of banking to attend – you won’t regret it. Click here for a list of confirmed speakers, to register online, and to get hotel information. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

Online Classes – March and April Offerings

Check out these ten courses that start in March and April. These ABA-facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.

Community Bank Education Suites
Building a Solid Community Banking Foundation for Your Team Members

ABA’s Bank Online Training Suites is comprised of 4 course bundles that provide a solid banking foundation for different encounters the banker may experience within their role. GBA members get a discounted rate, and you don't have to be an ABA member to register. The banking suites bundles are cost-effective, flexible and provide relevant content that is concise and straight to the heart of what bankers need to stay competitive. Click here to see what the course bundles include. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.
Fill a Job, Find a Job with the GBA Job Bank
The GBA Job Bank is among the most popular and valuable benefits we provide to member banks and bankers. The Positions Available and Bankers Available sections on our website consistently are among the most visited pages. Best of all, the service costs nothing for member banks and bankers. If you have any questions, please contact GBA's Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021.
GBA Community Connections
We want to share all the good work GBA member banks, bankers, Associate Members and Bank Counsel Section members do to support their communities. Read all about the Community Connections our banks and members have below. Share your Community Connections by sending a brief paragraph and any photos of activities you have to us and we'll publish them at our earliest opportunity. Send information to Katina Prokos and David Oliver, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment...
First Port City Bank
Persons Banking Company
Oconee State Bank
Read All About It: Send Us Your News
We want to share your news with your colleagues around the state. Please forward your announcements about promotions, new employees and special recognition your bank has received along with any available photos to GBA's David Oliver and Katina Prokos.